City Manager presents budget proposal for fiscal year 2019

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7)-- In Lynchburg, City Council is trying to balance the budget. The City Manager presented the first proposal to council Tuesday night. This comes just two weeks after she asked each department to propose two percent cuts from their budgets.

For example, the police department proposed cutting the Community Action Team. The fire department proposed cutting eight firefighters, but both of those are preserved in this proposal, which left city council asking if they are taking deep enough dives.

The spotlight was on that 2019 budget Tuesday night, a difficult undertaking as the city's revenue increased by just $160,000.

“Revenues that are just flat,” said Bonnie Svrcek, City Manager.

The police and fire departments among other departments were spared big cuts. Lynchburg City Schools, however, might experience a decrease in local funding of about $700,000.

This comes at a time when teachers are fighting for better pay. More than 30 teachers attended the City Council meeting Tuesday night to share their voices.

“We're looking for a bigger piece of the pie and if they make that pie smaller, it just makes it that much more difficult for all of the departments within the city,” said Karl Loos, President of Lynchburg Education Association.

The proposal calls for cutting some vacant positions and would add a new position for cyber security.

It does not have room to give city employees any kind of raise, a concern as employee retention is low.

“I want to give our employee's an increase,” said Svrcek. “I just don't have the services to do that without impacting our services to citizens.”

As they looked over graphs showing revenue trends that are mostly one level, some council members asked for a harder look at cuts that could take those graphs from stagnant to rising.

“We're going to have to do the deep diving in departments to look at how we can either get to city service functions that are on an improved staffing level or get to city service functions that are seriously that we have to cut,” said Treney Tweedy, Vice Mayor.